Collagen supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Studies have shown that daily collagen supplements can help make bones denser, slowing down the aging process that makes them brittle and aiding the body in producing new bone. Oral collagen supplements have been linked to improved hydration and elasticity of older people's skin, as well as reduced wrinkles. In addition, collagen supplements are associated with several health benefits and very few known risks. So, who is collagen good for? Collagen-enriched powders, beverages, tablets and functional foods have multiple health benefits, including stronger bones and healthier joints.
However, one of the main reasons these products are popular is their promise of youthful skin and long-lasting beauty. Bones are mostly made of collagen, so when the body's collagen production decreases, bones weaken, making them more susceptible to fractures. The hydrolyzation process also allows collagen peptides to dissolve in water, making them relatively simple to use in everyday foods (such as water or smoothies). Collagen supplements contain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and some may also contain additional nutrients related to skin and hair health, such as vitamin C, biotin, or zinc.
As with anything else, check the label carefully, but if you don't have an allergy, you should consider trying collagen peptides. Human studies are lacking, but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity. Collagen provides structure to arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Many people use products that contain or increase collagen production in the body to improve their skin.
Studies suggest that collagen supplements help increase muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that occurs with age. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and plays an important role in skin and bone health. Keratin, the structural protein in hair, nails and skin, has been suggested as an alternative to collagen, but there is limited research to support keratin products for anything other than topical application to skin and hair (2). However, collagen isn't likely to begin regenerating to reverse arthritis, even after a person takes oral supplements, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The types of collagen found in supplements vary, with some containing one or two types, while others contain up to five.
Because the amino acid composition of collagen differs from that of other proteins, possible alternatives are limited. Celebrities swear that putting collagen peptides in their daily shakes keeps them looking young and glamorous. At the end of one study, those taking a calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those who took calcium alone (1).In conclusion, collagen supplements can be beneficial for people looking for improved skin health and bone density. They can also help those with sarcopenia increase muscle mass.
However, it is important to note that there is limited research on the effects of collagen supplements on arthritis.